Why are the plonkers in TV adverts always called Dave?

When advertisers want an everyday moron, Dave seems to be the name of choice...

Advertisers appear to have a fall guy – Dave. Advert after advert, a hapless man pops up… and he’s always called Dave.


The name itself is actually said to mean ‘beloved’. According to the Urban Dictionary, Daves are “solid blokes”. “No man can come close to the glory of that which is Dave,” heralds one definition. UKTV renamed an entire channel after him because “everyone knows a bloke named Dave”.

Yet, the Dave of the advertising world seems to be something of a moron. Whether he’s unaware of that car sales website everyone’s talking about, or needs his wife to warn him away from the gorillas, Dave’s not exactly giving Columbo a run for his money in the realms of intelligent thinking. 

I’ve probably noticed it more than most because my dad is called Dave. He’s the man I measure all men against. The man I go to in order to solve life’s little problems. He’s the man who just seems to know everything.

But Advertising Dave – who we’re presumably supposed to identify with in order to tempt us to purchase the product on offer – is useless.

Take WeBuyAnyCar.com’s Dave. He’s missing the big party. Why is he missing the big party? Because he’s the plonker at home trying to sell his car using a hand-drawn sign. Dave can’t quite match up to all his super smart friends. He doesn’t know there’s a handy website, so rather than tucking into a delicious hot dog in the sunshine, silly ol’ Dave is stuck on his drive wearing a t-shirt that fittingly says, ‘I’m lost!’ 

MoneySupermarket’s Dave is almost cool. He feels epic. He’s just saved money on his car insurance and can tell a gorilla to shush and not get his face ripped off. But he’s also the prat sitting in the jungle while his wife yells at him to get back in the car. 


Halford’s Dave seems like a nice man. A friendly neighbour has fixed his car and Dave wants to offer him something in return. His neighbour wants Dave to pose for him so he can paint him. He’s “tired” of painting Dave from “memory” – and, for reasons unbeknown to us, Dave doesn’t run a mile… 


Pot Noodle went the whole hog and told customers to ‘blame it on Big Dave’ when advertising their King Pot Noodle. Don’t worry, their advert says, Dave’s the fat bloater chowing down on the oversized pot of food at some ungodly time of night, not you.


Even Enterprise’s smart Dave – who can tell you all about the UK’s tourist hot spots – is a patronising know-it-all. 


Perhaps next Christmas John Lewis will have a Dave ruining the festive season by kicking a penguin? You know, just to really jam that final nail in the ‘Dave is a Moron’ coffin.